Gwent Police has been awarded the highest level of accreditation as a Disability Confident Employer for its commitment to employing, retaining and developing disabled staff.
The accolade from the the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) comes in recognition of the Force’s determination to build an organisation that is both equal and inclusive for all its employees,
The award, based on three levels of attainment, demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to challenge, lead and provide support on disability, mental health and wellbeing.
Gwent Police is the only force in Wales to have been awarded such an accreditation.
The news was welcomed by Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe.
He said: “This is a significant achievement and we are pleased that the Force’s efforts around inclusivity have been recognised in such a way. The Police Federation has always prided itself on being inclusive and the Force’s top-level of accreditation from the DWP demonstrated the progress that we have all made in recent years.
“We take the mental health and wellbeing of our members extremely seriously so it is great to see the Force has now also been commended for the work it has been doing in this area.”
As part of the accreditation process, independently validated by Public Health Wales, Gwent Police highlighted a number of support services which benefit those with disabilities, the wider organisation and the communities of Gwent.
Recruitment is an area where significant resources have been made available to aid potential candidates with disabilities.
The positive action team has a dedicated officer, specifically in post to provide support to anyone joining policing with a disability.
The Force also operates a guaranteed interview scheme which allows anyone who attains the minimum set criteria an opportunity to interview.
Within the organisation, employees are provided a range of support throughout their professional career.
Dyslexia screening, workplace adjustments, neurodiversity champions and extensive occupational health services, are there to ensure anyone with disability has the opportunity to succeed.
Officers and staff also have an opportunity to join a dedicated staff network which ensures that the organisation is challenged to do more.
Across Gwent, there is also a drive to better engage and educate the communities of Gwent on disability.
Gwent Police has a widely successful Heddlu Bach and Cadets programme which actively goes into local schools, including specialist schools that provide dedicated support to those with disabilities.